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Dubai

On my return trip from Tanzania during the summer of 2010, I made the most out of a stopover in Dubai, extending it a few days in order to take in some of this emerging metropolis and its unprecedented architectural achievements. Over the course of just a few days, I was able to tour much of the city, seeing the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa (2,716 ft), walking through the largest mall in the world, the Dubai Mall (which has its own aquarium, a four-story waterfall with life-size sculpted divers, a floor devoted solely to gold – The Gold Souk, among other incredible features), the Burj Al Arab (the “Sailboat” hotel), and the Palm Island. On the night I left, I spent the evening relaxing by the man-made Dubai Water Fountain, which lies just outside the mall and the Burj Khalifa and displays a water show every 20 minutes while using 10,000 gallons of water. It was quite a show that topped off an afternoon spent over 1,400 ft in the air on the 124th floor observation deck of the world’s tallest building, which provided a panoramic view of the city, its outskirts, and the Persian Gulf.